New Orleans R&B legend James "Sugar Boy" Crawford was born in the Crescent City on October 12, 1934. He grew up singing in his Baptist church choir, additionally learning piano and playing trombone in the Booker T. Washington High School marching band. In 1950 Crawford and eight classmates formed the Sha-Weez; according to Marv Goldberg's profile in the September 1977 issue of Yesterday's Memories, the group's odd name derived from their theme song, Nolan Blackwell's "Cha-Paka-Sha-Wees," which roughly translates from the Creole "We are not raccoons." During an appearance on local radio, they were introduced as the "'Cha-Paka-Sha-Wees' musicians," and the moniker stuck. Producer Dave Bartholomew signed the Sha-Weez to New Orleans imprint Aladdin Records in late 1952, helming their debut session at Cosimo Matassa's legendary J&M Studios. Crawford was slated to sing lead vocal, but a previous live performance left his voice so strained that bandmate Edgar "Big Boy" Myles stepped to the fore instead. "No One to Love Me" appeared at year's end, becoming a local hit and earning the group live appearances throughout the Gulf Coast region.